Originally posted on 24 May 2004, in response to a prompt involving Planet of the Apes :
Thing that struck me, watching Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes — and it’s been too long since I saw the original movie, and I’ve never read the book, so Burton it is — thing that struck me is how single-minded Marky Mark is about getting off the planet. Talking monkeys? Sure, whatever. It’s a society where the humans are all slaves? Then the sooner I’m away from it the better. There’s some kind of secret about the past? Is it the Secret of How Marky Mark Gets Off This Damn Planet? No? Then fuck it. The dude is single-minded.
So let’s translate this into the roleplaying game about single-mindedness, Unknown Armies. UA scenario, or at least, UA NPC who lends himself to exactly one scenario.
In Unknown Armies, every so often — it’s vague as to how long it takes — the world ends and is recreated anew. Let’s suppose a guy turns up who’s a relic from the previous incarnation of the universe. Doesn’t matter where he came from, he stepped through a magic door or something. He’s the Holdover and of course he’s a sociopath.
He doesn’t speak the language, he holds no currency, he is surrounded by mad foreigners. And he doesn’t care. All he cares about is getting home. Granted, "home" was destroyed a few thousand years ago and recreated in this the current universe, but that’s all wash to the Holdover. He’s got a bunch of tricks of up his sleeve, though: rituals.
In UA it’s strongly implied that ritual magic is the residue of the previous universe, little bits of the underlying principles of creation left over from the big reincarnation. So this guy is some major juju, practically dripping magical significance. Hell, the Holdover probably knows major rituals and blast rituals and all the other stuff the Comte warned us about. He wants food, he conjures it. He wants to talk to you — by which I mean he wants to interrogate you about escaping back to the previous incarnation of the universe, because that’s all he wants to talk about — he wants to talk to you, he ties you down and cuts out your tongue and installs a new one made of wax that’ll speak his language.
The Comte, of course, the sole survivor of the reincarnation, is who the guy’s looking for, although it may take the Holdover a while to realize it. Maybe he realizes he’s in the future, maybe he thinks he’s in whatever passed for the House of Renunciation back in the day. Meantime, he’ll be cutting a swathe of destruction through the occult underground, sparking riots wherever he goes and making mincemeat of Sleeper assassins. Because he doesn’t care.
Sort of a Lancelot with magical power instead of killing power, I guess.